Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Love What You Do

I've been thinking about hobbies.  Last night Mark got up at 1am to drive to our boat (2 hrs) to go fishing.  He absolutely loves it.  To him, the drive doesn't matter and sleep can wait because there are fish to be caught! He spends hours preparing his gear, reading fishing reports, checking on weather and wind, and has even read a book or two (which is HUGE if you know him).  He wants to be good at his hobby because being good makes it more fun.  Besides his hobby he works and makes plenty of time for me and Hunter at home.  The hobby, by definition, is what he does in his chosen free time (well,  we all know with a small child there isn't actually any 'free' time, so rather he makes time).  

This of course got me thinking about triathlon.  For most people, it is a hobby.  Like fishing, an expensive, time consuming, hobby.  But what really struck me is that so many times training for the hobby seems to become a chore for many people.  They 'have' to get out for the bike ride or come up with many excuses (spoken or not) throughout their day to avoid actually doing a workout.  If this is your chosen hobby, which you started for whatever reason, you should LOVE it!  If there is no passion involved, then why do it? 

I think the main reason I have had success in triathlon is that I truly love the sport.  I love the daily training grind.  I love training on my own, with groups, with fast people or slow people - there is a time and place for it all.  I love the feeling after a workout so hard you never though you'd finish.  What I love most is showing up on race day to challenge my body and mind and see what I can do.  I love enjoying race day with everyone there and commiserating afterwards.  

If you find yourself in a rut with training and are feeling like it is more like a 'to-do' item rather than what you are doing for fun then something has gone wrong in your thought process.  You need to reset and remember why you chose this hobby to fill your free time!  What do you enjoy?  What makes it stressful or ruins it as a hobby?  Why are you not making time to do it? 

There are many ways to get fast at triathlon if that is your goal, but I can tell you not enjoying it and being too strict is not going to pay off in the long run.  Get out and train hard if that suits you.  If this is a hobby you truly love, like fishing, you will make time for it. 

Happy training! 

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Racine Report

This is not really a race report, but rather a general explanation about why there is a DNF by my name at Racine 70.3.  I do not say this often, or maybe have never said it, but it was just not my day on Sunday.

We all had our challenges dealing with the race morning weather, changes, cancelled swim, delayed start and modified race distances.  For those that weren't there....There was a major weather front that came through just as the race was meant to start, causing a delay of 3.5 hours.   The swim was completely cancelled and the bike shortened to 31 miles.  The pros had to start in time-trial fashion (one at a time every 30 seconds).

This format doesn't suit me, but I was on board to give it my best shot.  I got out on the bike and quickly realized, as I somewhat predicted, I needed a MUCH longer warm-up before biking hard.  I was just starting to get rolling around mile 10 when my bike started to feel really unstable.  I thought I had a flat and moved to the base bars.  I quickly noticed my aero bars were completely loose and were just about to completely fly off my bike! Yikes...but slightly better than a flat :)  Luckily after only a few min of riding out of aero, the Trek mechanics showed up and we pulled over to fix it.  I was actually thankful for the break, but painfully watched a couple girls ride by knowing I was unlikely to catch them with the way my legs were riding!

Back at it with no excuses but under trained bike legs, I finished the ride feeling ok.  I got out on the run, ready to have a good run despite an embarrassing bike ride. I've been feeling strong running and thought I could run with the top girls (well, a bit behind, but run close to the same time at least).  I felt good for 2.5 miles, settling into a strong pace, but my back started tightening up.  By the turn at 3ish miles my back had completely tightened up and there was no way I could continue running, let alone walk!  I got picked up and got a ride back to my family.  I didn't feel bad or have a hard time deciding to stop, since there was no way at all I could continue!  Anyone that knows me knows that I don't quit on races and pride myself on finishing, especially in tough conditions, so not completing this race is something new and not something I plan on doing again.

I'm lucky to have a great chiropractic team here in Madison (All About Chiropractic) who got me in on Monday for a full exam and x-rays.  Being 3.5 months after baby my body is still changing and I'm kicking myself for being lazy with my back care and massages these last few months.  It certainly caught up to me and there were many things out of whack.  I'm happy to say that I think this will be resolved quickly and we have a great treatment plan.  After some work yesterday I'm already feeling better (and can walk!).

As far as what's next...First off taking care of my body and staying healthy has to return to top priority.  Secondly, get my biking to a place where I can be more competitive....this means making time for more riding (trainer, eek!).

Lastly, thank you to Ironman for putting me on the pro panel for me to represent Timex and new moms out there!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

On the comeback!

It feels like a lifetime ago that I wrote the last post, and in many ways it was a completely different life, but in some ways (which I have worked hard on) it is still the same.  I just raced my first half Ironman back since baby 12 weeks ago and am happy to report I didn't die :)  I actually did well, and am very proud of my results because I know what it took to get there.

Hunter was born 2 weeks early, on March 24.  I won't get into the birth, but after a very healthy and enjoyable pregnancy it was not a smooth birth process.  None the less, I had a baby and there started the whole new life of mommy-hood.  After an initial struggle getting going with breastfeeding (who doesn't struggle the first few weeks!) we hit our stride and are going strong in the feeding department.

However obsessed I might be (follow along on Instagram), I don't want to focus on my amazingly cute baby boy in this post.  I want to focus on the route I'm taking getting back into triathlon and how it's working out.  I'm going to break down some key 'mind-set' points and then share what I've done the last couple months.

1.  Baby's take A LOT of time.  When you think you can get stuff done around the house while they nap, you are probably wrong.  When you schedule something, they probably have other plans....this includes workouts.  Because of this, not many workouts will get done and you have to be ok with that and also going with the flow of baby.

2. It takes a while for your body to get to where you want it, so be patient with yourself.  This is a tough one...especially if you are at a higher level in your sport and you are eager to get going again.  It is a slow build.  Push it too much, you will be dog tired and potentially injured.

3.  It is not selfish to take time to yourself to workout.  Use the gym childwatch, friends, family, whoever is willing (and eager many times) to help by snuggling your sweet baby so you can go get your head right (and feel like some version of your old self) with a run or swim or yoga or whatever you need.   There is plenty of time in the day for baby snuggles - it's ok to do a 30 minute run.

4.  It has to be a priority.  This is a little confusing, because obviously your new family is at the top, but if getting back into shape is a goal, it better be up there on the priority list because it is REALLY easy to just lounge and snuggle and watch every single thing on Netflix and eat yummy treats with little baby.   Working out is a habit and although some days will be tough, from a time or motivation standpoint, it is very important to stick with it.  Sometimes it's easy to do it during the day (nap time) but many times I have found myself up and on the trainer at 4:30am or after bedtime at 8pm.  This is just part of the mom-athlete 'dance'.

5.  Lack of sleep is a real issue.  This is why you really can't do much of anything the first month.  If you do, then you are some amazing, non-sleep machine.  I like love sleep.  I used to pride myself on getting plenty of sleep and maximizing recovery.  Now, with baby, I sleep as much as I can (which will not be even close to what I did before) and make due with energy levels for workouts.

OK, enough of all that.  Let's get down to what the heck did I actually do??  Let's back up just a bit to pregnancy- I was able to workout/exercise the entire time...even posted a gym baby belly pic the day I went into labor (had no idea I would go into labor or I would have been home napping!).   SO, I think the process after baby has been much easier because I stayed active the entire time.

Weeks 1-2: nothing.  just survive.  sleep, eat, drink lots, feed baby

Week 3:  start walking.  first walk was to the mailbox.  then around the block. and so on.
Training Hours: 1

Week 4: I started feeling better and like starting some exercise again.   I went for a swim, and went on a couple run/walks of ~20-25 min. Training Hours: 4:30

Week 5: Continued to build on week 4. Still short and easy.   First bike ride! Training Hours: 7

Week 6:  Same as week 4. couple swims, a few run/walks - still pretty slow, lower abs/pelvic region still would get sore after ~25 min. Training Hours: 8:40

Week 7:  Getting into a groove - Using the health club childcare up to 2 hrs at a time.  Continued with the swims and run/walk almost daily.  A couple yoga sessions.  Long ride, 37 miles. Training Hours: 9

Week 8:  Training more regularly, feeling stronger.  Did Donald Dash 10k trail race with Mark and Stewart.  Building consistency running 3-5 miles per day. Also a couple bikes and swims.  Long ride 35 miles (not fast).  Training hours: 12:30

Week 9:  Building consistency running 4-7 miles per day, Long run 10 (hilly) miles,  Rode (and bonked hard) Milkman course. Training Hours: 13

Week 10: Easier week, raced Lake Mills Sprint tri.  Good confidence builder, ran 6 min miles!
Training Hours: 9

Week 11:  'Panic Training'  EEEK.  I did a big week, including 12 mile run on Wednesday, Milkman course ride and 30 min run off Saturday. Training Hours: 12:30

Week 12: Taper?! For Milkman Half Ironman!  I took 2 full rest days, 1 swim only day and a few brick sessions with race simulation efforts.  I was optimistic...feeling good but pretty unsure if that would transfer through the entire distance of a half Ironman.

I'm happy to share more specifics on this, if you are interested, but main thing was listening to my body and not pushing it too far too soon!

Quick Milkman Race Recap:

Started in Elite wave w/men - swam fine, fairly controlled...noticed I'm not swimming as straight as I used to!!  Swam 27min and change

Bike: This is where I REALLY didn't know what would happen.  My rides have not been fast at all (fastest Milkman ride just under 3 hrs) and my bike legs have certainly not come around yet.  I rode as hard as I thought I could to cover the distance (duh, I guess that's what you do every time!).  I was looking at watts, but not using it too much to determine how hard to go.  I based it on feel, making nutrition a high priority as I know with breastfeeding I need to take in a lot more liquid and calories (in addition to the temp rising during the ride up towards 90 degrees).  No one caught me on the bike so I knew I was good to go for a nice run around the lake.  2:37 I think :)

Run:  I predicted I could run 6:50's, but that was not really planning for such hot conditions.  I took some extra precautions for the temps, and thankfully was still able to run very close to that, finishing the half in 1:30.  I was on maintenance mode for the run, which is really exciting, knowing that if there is close competition I could likely get more out of this.

Overall: Happy to take the win for the inaugural Milkman, which I hope to do every year!  4:39 finish time.

I'm taking a few days easy recovery (just a swim Monday and off today) and then will start another small build up to Racine 70.3 where I will be racing the big girls again :)

Thanks for following my progress back and I hope to continue to improve to where I was last year and beyond!

Huge thanks to support from Timex, my team since I started back in 2009.  Also from great companies like Newton Running, Rudy Project, and Computrainer who keep me using some great gear.  Locally I could not have such fun racing without my friends at Speed Cycling,  Endurance House West, Perfect Circle Cycling, and Race Day Events!

Lastly, my hubs Mark....celebrated his first fathers day cheering me did I get so lucky :)

Monday, February 15, 2016

Pregnancy Swim Challenge (Weeks 20-32)

Well, we're getting to the home stretch here and I've been feeling pretty good!  I currently have a cold (yuck) but otherwise am happy with how things are going.  One of the fun things has been doing the weekly 'pregnancy swim challenge' workouts with friends.

We started out when I was 20 weeks pregnant (and feeling very out of swim shape) back in mid November with a 2000yd workout and are still going strong, adding 100yds each week!  I usually swim 2-3 other times on my own, ranging anywhere from 1000-3000yds, but easier workouts.

Here is a little recap of the workouts we've done each week for the last 13 weeks...hope there are others out there who will give this a try!

Week 20
5x100 warm up as 75 free, 25 back
5x100 as 100 pull/100 kick
5x100 adding 25 fast each time...15 sec rest after each 100. for ex: 25 fast/75 easy, 50 fast/50 easy, 75 fast/25easy, 100 all fast, 100 easy.
5x100 ascend - each one gets slower, on 1:45

Week 21
5x100 warm up as 75 free, 25 back
4x100 as 50 build up, 50 ez 10 sec rest
9x100 descend each set of 3 on 1:30 or a send off that works.
3x100 choice cool down

Week 22
warm up: 6x100 done as 100s, 100k, 100p repeat
2 rounds of 4x100 on ~1:45 (looking for a fairly comfortable send off time):
100 pull with buoy and right paddle
100 pull with buoy and left paddle
100 pull with buoy and both paddles
100 swim (no equipment) build, hold form and increase power building from mod-fast. 
3x100 @ 80% on 1:40
3x100 @ 85-90% on 1:35
200 choice cool down

Week 23 swim challenge! I'm starting to see a hint of getting into swim shape..
2x(100s, 100k, 100p, 100 choice scull) 
Speed pyramid (adjust intervals as needed so middle few 100's are a challenge). Set is continuous.  
1x100 on 1:35
2x100 on 1:30
3x100 on 1:25
2x100 on 1:30
1x100 on 1:35 
3x100 pull with paddles, smooth 
3x100 choice cool down

Week 24
2x(100s, 100k, 100 drill, 100 pull) 
3 times thru:
4x100 on 1:30 (or choice interval) solid effort 
100 easy 
100 easy cool down

Week 25
2x(4x25 on :30)
Build up, break out, all fast, all easy
Main set, continuous:
1x100 easy on 1:40
2x100 on 1:35
3x100 on 1:30
4x100 on 1:25 
50 easy 
100 r paddle
100 l paddle
200 both 
50 easy

Week 26 Adjust intervals so that middle 100's look tough smile emoticon
1x100 1:40
2x100 1:35
3x100 1:30
4x100 1:25
3x100 1:30
2x100 1:35
1x100 1:40 
200 cd

Week 27

300s, 100k, 200p
2x(4x25 build up, break out, fast, easy)
3x through:
2x100 on 1:35
2x100 on 1:30
2x100 on 1:25 
100 easy cd
Week 28
4x75 as 25 kick, 25 fast, 25 easy on 1:30
Main set:
Adding 50 hard each time, ex: 1st is 50 hard, 150 easy. 2nd is 100 hard 100 easy... 4th all hard, 5th all easy. 10 sec rest for all. 
2x300 pull with paddles - building effort thru each 300.
100 easy
4x25 sprint on :45. At least 1 fly
100 easy
Week 29 
warm up: 300s 100k 200p 100 drills
2x(4x25 on :30)
Build up, break out, all fast, all easy
Main set, continuous (adjust send off as needed):
2x100 easy on 1:40
3x100 on 1:35
4x100 on 1:30
5x100 on 1:25 eeek!
100 easy
100 r paddle
100 l paddle
200 both
100 easy

Week 30
Warm up:
500s every 4th length non free 
6x50 as 25 drill 25 swim 10sr
2x(4x25 build, breakout, fast, slow) on :30
Main set:
3x (4x100 descend on 1:30, 200 steady swim or pull) 
200 cool down

Week 31:
Warm up
400 swim
200 pull
100 kick
Pre Set
5 x 100 w/fins if u have them as 50 cruise/25 kick on back/25 build swim on 15” rest
Main Set
2 continuous rounds of:
4 x 50 cruise on :55 (or 15"rest)
2 x100 hold same pace as the 4 x 50
4 x 50 cruise on 15” rest
200 hold same pace as the 4 x 50 on 30” rest
300 choice cool down

Week 32
warm up:
4x50 drill/swim 10 sec rest
main set:
20x100 done like this.... intervals can be adjusted so that first set looks easy and last set looks like a challenge (only ~5 sec rest). 
4x100 on 1:40
100 easy rest till next top.
4x100 on 1:35
100 easy rest till next top.
4x100 on 1:30
100 easy rest till next top.
4x100 on 1:25
100 easy rest till next top. 
200 cool down choice